Messrs. Burns and Coon
Write an essay of two to three pages (not including heading) or approximately 600 – 750 words based on one of the following prompts.
1. This play is often called a “problem play” because it fits neatly into neither the conventions of comedy or tragedy. In your view, is the play more a tragedy or comedy? Why?
2. Of friendship, parent and child, romantic love, and love of possessions and money, which is the strongest form of love in the play? Which displays the greatest tension? What examples can you cite to support your view?
3. Is this an anti-Semitic play that promotes hatred toward Jews? Or does the text offer a different message? If so, what is that message?
4. Slightly different take on a similar topic: Is Shylock more of a villain or a victim? What support can you find for your view?
5. How does the plot of the rings relate to the other “obligations” presented in the play? Does the tension between justice and mercy relate to this part of the plot differently from its role in the trial scene?
6. Identify a topic from the play you would like to explore in more detail: a close reading of a scene, an analysis of a key speech, a comparison of two characters, or something else. If you choose this option, please let one of us confer with you on your choice of topic.
LENGTH: 2 to 3 pages (approximately 600-750 words), typed, double spaced, 12 point serif font, one-inch margins all around.
RESOURCES: None, please. If you look up ANY external information, be sure to cite it thoroughly and properly both in your paper and in a Works Cited page. Otherwise you do not need a Works Cited. Cite any quotations by act, scene, and line (4.1.321-24, for example).
DUE: In class, Tuesday, February 4 (day 6 schedule) Turnitin.com title: Merchant of Venice.